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tv   NBC Nightly News  NBC  August 27, 2011 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT

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north/know at so miles per hour. then up to new york city by tomorrow morning. that long island sound there could be a big event. >> thanks. thanksla for watching nbc bay aa news at 5:00. hurricane irene pounding the east coast with wind, rain, 20-foot waves and coastal flooding. already there are storm-related deaths and damage, power outages and millions more in the storm's path, including here in the nation's largest city. path, including here in the nation's largest city. "nightly news" begins now. captions paid for by nbc-universal television a special dpeechk to good evening to our viewers on the coast. while it takes a lot to impress people on the west coast in terms of a natural disaster, we're in the middle of one in
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the east. the destructive run of hurricane irene is well under way this evening. it's churning up the east coast and as it poss, the effects of this hurricane are felt for anything from 18 to 24 hours. because it's so big and lumbering and slow. the storm is over 500 miles wide at the core. winds at 85 miles an hour. waves up and over the 20-foot mark. the storm is a category 1. that number is mostly irrelevant to the massive size. perhaps the best way to show the size of this storm is what it's doing t air travel. note the flights in the at tntic. those lilett in the ocean flying out and around it. and the air traffic bumping up against it in the west. 9,000 flights have been canceled out of this onregi .bu0 ofmaclytu acally. but the restf theth country is up and flying. there is already widespread damage to report including the first wave of folks spending the night without power. the estimates begin at around a
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million americans without power. there have been at least six deaths from this storm already. and we are here for an hour tonight by the way. your nbc station does not air the second half, it will be on the website. we want to begin with the latest on this storm. bryan norcross, our friend the veteran meteorologist at the weather channel. bryan, has the course changed at all? has the severity changed at all as it marches up the i-95 corridor on the east coast? >> brian, after spending 11 hours, the center has weakened slightly. it's an 80 mile an hour hurricane now. we expect further weakening, but it's not important as you said. there's so much energy in this massive storm that it's moving the water and when you have that big of a storm, the energy takes over and the wind near the take a look at the radar here and let's look close up. you see where the center is. it's the center of the rotation, 30 miles off of norfolk.
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it's piling wat into chesapeake wy. here's the bay right here. flooding is going to ensue is under way, we'reke sure, in the tidewater and hampton roads area of virginia. in williamsburg, up the road, 76 mile an hour gusts within the last half hour. moving north, we have cape bay, new jersey with a 62 mile an hour gust just in the last few minutes and we have a tornado watch for the new york city, new jersey metropolitan area. we've had toadoes, we just had one go through delaware that damage destroyed 15 homes there. little bit of meteorology here. look at the upper air jet stream pulling the air out of the top of this hurricane. that's why we think that the circulation here is going to stay moderately strong. not just up to new york city but on up all the way to canada and that's why this is a multidimensional threat. to the west of the track, severe flooding here over saturated ground with the wind gusting up
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40, 50, 60 miles an hour will take down trees. on the other side, coastal inundation from virginia up to new england arriving in the new york city area tomorrow morning about coincident with hi tide. we're concerned for the jersey shore, long island. because the natural tide will be five feet up. storm surge on top of that. brian. >> bryan, this storm another way to put it, still has all the water to deliver that it had these days, these many days marching up the east coast? >> yeah. it's just a monstrous storm that's pushing water on one side and carrying tropical rain to the north on the other side. you know, the little bit of weakening that we've seen is good news, of course. the weaker, the little bit less storm surge we get. it's really on the margin. it looks like. we don't see any reason to think that this is not just going to be life-threatening with all the inland problems we've been
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talking about. >> bryan norcross, who worked so many hours. who i also note has been right about this storm, its severity and its trajectory going back days. we want to show you one of the places in the teeth of it right now. because it's so big, that includes a lot of communities, but one of them, virginia beach. eric fisher from the weather channel has been trying to hang on there all day and all night. eric, how are you? >> well, thankfully, brian, things improved a little bit at our location in virginia beach since the last time we spoke. i wish i could say that about many locations in the tidewater. we have a crew in norfolk. there are people literally swimming in the streets right now because of some of the surge flooding. it's one of the deadliest aspects of land falling hurricanes that is our big concern tonight. a tide above what we would normally expect. high tide is right now. the worst will last for a couple more hours before the water levels go down. we're also getting report coming in, perhaps another fatality here in the state of virginia.
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in the town of chesterfield. you heard bryan norcross, wint gusts upwards of 70 miles per ho hour. rainfall totals will be approaching a foot if not topping it before the rain works its way out. the wind gusts tonight will continue as well. in terms of the other fatalities that we've seen here, an 11-year-old in a two-story building when a tree fell into it. also a gentleman driving down the highway when a tree fell on his vehicle. many reports like that in and around north carolina and virginia. it's unfortunate side of the storm for sure. things will not improve here until tomorrow morning and for tonight, we continue to watch that surge, which will be lingering at least the next couple of hours. >> eric we're glad tore the lull, however brief. thanks for reporting tonight. let's move up the coast a little by. if you live and work in washington, d.c., you go to the beach and usually one of two places. delaware or ocean city,
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maryland. tom costello is in the latter. tom, we've been talking about the degradation of the beaches up and down the east coast, say nothing of the real estate but it's the enjoyment it brings people, the businesses, the tourism money that all the states depend on and the treasure is reoweding out to sea. >> we talked to a lot of people who do business on the boardwalk here. this is the time of year they make their money to hold them over for the rest of the year. the place as you would imagine is a ghost town. behind me, i don't know how well you can see the surf, but we've got waves up about 20, 25 feet, i should say up off of what normally would be the surface and we're looking at winds sustained now of about 30, 35, gusts to 40. and just the last half hour, we lost electricity here. we're coming to you off of battery power. we've had about four inches of rain here on the delmarva peninsula. a total of 10 to 12 they say
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storm surge of six to eight feet and we're right now just coming off of high tide. but the strong part of the storm is now starting to hit us. we are ex picketing the next four to five to six hours will be particularly heavy in terms of the wind, in terms of the rain and in terms of the surge coming off of the ocean. because of that, the local police department has ordered all officers off the street. they are now sitting in groups, if you will, in pre-positioned areas. but they're under orders, they're not to leave those positions until the storm has passed. they don't want to take any chances because there is now and there has been for the better part of two days, a mandatory evacuation order on this particular stretch of the delmarva. very few people are here. almost everybody got off this island in advance of this storm. there are a few holdouts who say they want to stick it out just in case to see what happens to their property. for the most part, it's the media, the police and the firefighters in their stations. back to you, brian. >> tom, i think your assessment is right.
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you're about to get all you can handle from the storm. they just closed the chesapeake bay bridge which is hugely important artery because of wind gusts, 70, 80 miles an hour. tom costello, he'll remain riding it out in ocean city. kerry sand ders in atlantic beach in north carolina where they're coming off a rough night and a rough day today. now are able to look at this storm a bit in the rearview mirror. kerry? >> reporter: well, indeed, brian. hurricane irene arrived early, lingered all day and is just about gone here. and in the wake is, well, there's destruction like that pier over my shoulder and also some deaths. in fact, two deaths directly related to hurricane irene. one man who was outside his home during the hurricane checking some of the damage when a tree limb broke loose, fell, crushed and killed him. another young man, a boy who was inside a vehicle who was driving with his family at an
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intersection where there was no power and those lights were out and the police say, because those traffic lights were out, there was an accident and that's why this accident happened and this young man died. hurricane irene made first landfall just south of the outer banks on north carolina's coast. winds in excess of 100 miles per hour ripped apart unsecured siding. tilted electrical poles and church steeples. downed trees. unconfirmed tornado is believed to have touched down in bell haven. damaging waterfront businesses. while the storm's surge flooded some roadways, waves, most eight to ten feet, with the occasional 17-footer, hammered the atlantic beach pier. this is what the pier looked like before irene and now after. the final section is gone. washed out to sea in the early morning hours. north carolina state officials say early indications are damage is minimal.
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dun kin reeves who rode the storm out with his 80-year-old parents says he's thankful irene, which had been a category 3 hurricane showed mercy when she made landfall here as barely a category 1. >> i battened down the hatches and took everything, put everything away that can blow around. >> irene came ashore here in the early morning hours. the eye of the storm passing directly over atlantic beach. >> this is the back end of the hurricane coming through here. these are the hurricane-force winds and it's brutal. i got to tell you. the sand is like a sandblaster. i can barely turn that direction. >> along the north carolina coast, more than 200,000 homes are still without power. for those who having waited inland, emergency managers say there will be at least one more night away from home before the all clear signal. >> stay inside. it makes no sense for anybody to go outside with hot wires on the ground and trees down.
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>> reporter: well, as you can see, there's still some lingering wind associated with irene. but certainly not what we had seen throughout the early morning and through all day. so the signs are that this is the very end of irene. brian? >> kerry, you've been up for days covering this. yet, you have the perspective to correctly point out, by outer banks standards, by north carolina standards, this was moderate to light damage even though you're also aware that what's coming up here in a place like new york city will be highly unusual and perhaps catastrophic? >> reporter: and different. remember, that this is a different community. the houses are built differently. the trees are different. so it's a very different community and so while folks here are saying, you know, they feel very lucky, there was minor damage, it doesn't mean that folks to the north can sit back and say, oh, well, north carolina did fine. i guess we're not going to have a problem ourselves. it could be a very different
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storm and a very different impact when it arrives, brian. >> absolutely right. good point. kerry, thanks for all your work covering this storm. hope you can go down for the night along with your crew. ron mott is in lower manhattan specifically battery park, southern tip of the island where, again, if these projections are right, by one model, ron, the water where you're standing would be over your head during the storm surge. >> reporter: hey there, brian. that is a scary picture you've just painted there. this area is vacated fortunately tonight. new york city, of course, is renowned for being a place that thrives on hustle and bustle. all it takes is a quick look around to see there is literally something different in the air. the pace much slower and that alone for a lot of people is cause for concern. though not exactly asleep, new york city is in an anxious slumber. fifth avenue window shopping shuttered. on broadway. the show won't go on. >> brooklyn a train will be the
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last. >> subway platforms deserted. grocery stores running off customers to bar their doors. >> we're closed. >> just a little surprised and kind of, i don't know, this is new york. nothing ever closes. >> as irene closes in on the nation's most popular city tonight, residents and visitors plan to get ready. from a california businessman whose flight was canceled today to a tennis pro here for the u.s. open holed up in a hotel room and off the court. >> it's not a good thing because you don't have possibility to practice. >> jacqueline andrews worries about all that glass in her 55th floor manhattan apartment. >> if a window breaks this high up, it's quite possible it could have a suction effect and pull everything out too. so if it gets that bad, i'm just going to go sit in the stairwell. >> flooding is the primary concern especially in lower manhattan where the power will
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be pulled if water comes rushing in. >> our concern is making sure that the only thing that comes out of this is inconvenience and maybe a little bit of property damage. we don't need people to die. >> at noon, mayor bloomberg ordered the city's entire transit system halted. the first system wide shutdown in its history and the impact is staggering. a 24/7 operation. thousands of buses, 840 miles of rail out of service leaving half the city, four million new yorkers without cars, essentially stranded. evacuation orders forced 370,000 to find shelter elsewhere. >> it's going to be pretty bad. >> pretty bad sums up travel at new york's three mamg juror airports. nearly a thousand flights grounded. this north carolina woman's cruise to canada is over. the saga to get back home has only begun. >> ooer going to have no choice. we have to stay here until monday morning. we got tickets out on monday morning. hopefully, we'll still have jobs and then go back. >> the waters of new york harbor
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just off our camera position here. starting to get a little bit restless. a lot of the folks have been evacuated. hunkering down with family and friends, others have fwon to shelters. we saw a pretty good size line to get in one of those today. >> ron mott thanks for your report being. all the new yorkers are hoping the dire projections are wrong. it's the last saturday night in august. summer of 2011. that is the crossroads of the world. times square in new york. it's not the people have been ordered out. it's that there are no people to fill it. it's a rainy night, so many people in the city have been evacuated and have generally stayed away. you just won't see a sight like that for a good long time. we're going to take a break. when we come back, we'll hear from al roker in the location where forecasters believe this storm will finally make its filand my vet thinks my insides are in mint condition. [ female announcer ] vets agree,
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brian. the rain has been falling steadily since about 10:00 a.m. today. that is the main concern because as you mentioned, this area is prone to flooding. in 2003, during hurricane isabel up to three plox were submerged underwater. power was out for days and boats moved. there's a fear, i spoke to the mayor specifically today that that could happen again. so here's what we have to look at. tomorrow morning at 8:00 a.m., it's high tide. we've heard about this storm surge that's coming off the atlantic ocean going through the chesapeake bay. it's going to feed the potomac river mind me. at possibly 8:00 a.m., the water could break this dock where i'm standing and go into the city. now, the city of washington, d.c., there's a state of emergency as there is in the commonwealth of virginia. folks over there are holding tough. there is a worry about losing power. residents have been instructed to expect to lose power tonight and to watch out for falling trees. there's still a long way to go. but as you know, washington, d.c., alexandria, virginia, a
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lot of homes built around a lot of trees. people holding their breath that it passes through by 8:00 a.m. tomorrow. luke, thanks for your reporting all night. while there is a long beach, famous one in california, we also have a long beach here in the new york tristate area. it's on long island and specifically forecasters believe that what passes for the center of irene is going to make landfall on or near long beach, new york. al roker has been stationed there all evening long. al, good evening. >> reporter: brian, this is a barrier island. long beach is situated on a barrier island like the outer banks of the carolinas. this is really going to take the brunt of that -- of hurricane irene as it comes on shore. and make no mistake, it is going to be a big problem because right about the time irene comes on shore, it will be the time of high tide. so you take a high tide of about
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six feet, you add four to eight feet on top of that, in this low-lying barrier city and you're going to have big problems. we're getting the rain, the rain bands already. ahead of the storm. it's 300 miles to the southwest. it is still churning this way. we haven't even begun to see the worst of it. we've been getting lightning and thunder. the rain is picking up. the winds are blowing right now at 25 to 30 miles per hour. and we expect things to get worse. people have been evacuated, ordered to evacuate off this island, out of this city and we're going to stay here and ride this out and bring you the latest as irene comes on shore. it's expected just to the west of here at some time tomorrow morning. brian, back to you. >> all right. al roker, who along with others, could be in for a busy night and early morning tomorrow. another break and when we come back, we'll check in with jim cantore of the weather channel on what could happenthe of new ♪ it was the best day
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and side effects when you transfer or fill a new ongoing prescription. i'm carla, and this is my cvs. and his, too. we're back. our story --ur coverage of hurricane irene continues. there's the current location of this storm and note the northern bands just getting into atlantic city new jersey. for the new york metropolitan area, this thing is just getting started. it's like a dyson vacuum cleaner full of water. it's going to deliver that water and push it up into places like new york harbor. there's also an expression in the weather business, you never want to be where jim cantore of the weather channel is. and sadly for the folks in lower manhattan, that's where he is tonight. because of the expected storm surge. jim, what's the conservative estimate of the level over shoreline right now, and i know you're going to want 12 more
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hours before you guess this. what do you think -- >> in 12 hours we're going to know brian. no more anticipation. but let's use this pylon behind me as a good example. right now we're at high tide. all right. let's add the surge expected which is four to eight feet on top of that. so the water is about a foot below where you can see the edge of this boardwalk. so four to eight feet is going to put that mostly up to the top of that pylon and that's going to bring all that water out in through here. it's almost hard to imagine that we won't see that. it's going to be hard to imagine that we won't see some water come up. i think a conservative estimate brings water on top of the boardwalk at the battery. it's not only that, it's the winds. you go up 30, 80 stories, we're talking about 70 miles per hour winds turning into 80 miles per hour. anything above 80 stories is 94 miles per hour winds. the winds increase in height and that means a lot of rough nights for these people. back to you. >> jim, cantore. thanks. we'll be talking along the way.
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you owe me that estimate in 12 hours. a big concern about the so-called pit at ground zero, that hole filling with water. we'll be back with more of our coverage in just a moment. e announcer ] from nutritional science comes centrum silver, with vitamins and minerals balanced to support your energy and immune function. everyday benefits from advanced formulas. discover the complete benefits of centrum silver. but for some of us with overactive bladder,
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to our viewers on the west coast tonight, at this point we would normally say good night. we're going to keep going here for another half hour. if your nbc station does not carry the extra half hour, you can see us on the web for its entirety. that's nightly.msnbc.com. please remember your late local news for the latest coverage of this. today show, "nightly news" and the weather channel all night. i'm brian williams in new york. the weather channel all night. i'm brian williams in new york. good night. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com good evening. i'm diane dwyer. you've been getting the latest on hurricane irene on "nightly

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